After Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) demanded to know whether the NSA was spying on U.S. Congress members, one self-styled media watchdog suggests that maybe they should.
“Not one article has dared to ask whether Sanders and other ‘progressive’ members of Congress should be under surveillance because of their contacts with foreign intelligence agencies,” wrote Cliff Kincaid, director of the Accuracy In Media Center for Investigative Journalism.
“In a sense, the story is a bunch of hype,” Kincaid wrote. “Like other Americans, certain data about members of Congress is being collected by the NSA, but not searched unless there is evidence of foreign and terrorist connections. Sanders wants the public to think this is sinister activity.”
Kincaid complained that no federal elected officials, including the president and lawmakers, are required to go through security background checks before being allowed to serve, which he suggests could put national security at risk.
“If any member of Congress should be under surveillance, it would be Sanders,” Kincaid wrote.
Kincaid pointed out that Sanders, a self-described socialist who runs for office as an independent but caucuses with Democrats, had worked with activists to halt nuclear proliferation – which the right-wing activist suggested was unpatriotic.
“During the 1980s he collaborated with Soviet and East German ‘peace committees’ to stop President (Ronald) Reagan’s deployment of nuclear missiles in Europe, in order to counter a massive Soviet strategic nuclear advantage,” Kincaid wrote. “Sanders had openly joined the Soviets’ ‘nuclear freeze’ campaign to undercut Reagan’s military build-up.”
Kincaid also suggested that Sanders had worked with other organizations, such as the U.S. Peace Council, that were aligned with the Soviet Union and warned that the FBI found in 1970 that Soviet agents had contacted various members of Congress and their staffers – and found they liked some better than others.
“However, 13 senators and representatives — all but three of them Democrats — were listed by name as being preferred by Soviet officials, and targeted,” Kincaid wrote, fingering the late Sens. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), George McGovern (D-S.D.) and Walter Mondale (D-MN).
Sanders even hung a Soviet flag in his office as mayor of Burlington, Vermont, to honor a symbolic relationship with the city Yaroslavi, Kincaid wrote, and established a similar symbolic relationship with Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, to celebrate a Sandinista victory.
Kincaid complains that recent reports about Sanders’ letter to the NSA appeared in various media outlets – even Fox News – without dredging up the senator’s past associations or drawing conclusions based on his efforts to limit domestic surveillance.
“No outlet bothered to go beyond Sanders’ publicity stunt to determine whether a case can be made that members of Congress, including Sanders himself, should be under investigation or surveillance,” Kincaid wrote.
The media “played along with his stunt,” Kincaid warned, as part of some larger agenda that includes the Democratic Party, the media, President Barack Obama, law enforcement, communists and no doubt others.
“One can be sure, as long as a Democratic president occupies the White House, that Sanders and his fellow ‘progressive’ Democrats in Congress will escape the scrutiny of the FBI,” Kincaid wrote.